First M4/3 prime O45 or P25?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by DynaSport, May 1, 2013.

  1. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I am a long time dslr shooter with some pretty decent lenses. I have mainly shot 2.8 zooms, but I have a 50 and 85 prime that I don't use that much. But since I only have kit zooms (14-42 and 40-150) for my E-PM1, I thought I'd give a prime a go to see if it made a noticeable difference in my photo quality.

    So, to try and figure out what prime I'd use the most, I analyzed some of my most recent photos taken with my kit zoom. What I found is that the biggest grouping of photos was taken at 42mm. The next, slightly smaller grouping was around 25mm. Most of the rest were between those two, with only a few in the 14-20 focal lengths.

    So, going just by the numbers, it seems the O45 would be the best bet for me, but I would think the 25 would be the more versatile and more used lens. In my experience with my dslr, I have a 50 prime and shooting it on my 1.6 crop camera that comes out to an 80 effective and I usually found that too long indoors. So, I hardly ever used the 50 inside and when outdoors I preferred the 85 which is an effective 135 or so.

    All of that to say, I am very hesitant to drop the money on the 45 for fear I won't use it. My finances are tight right now and I can't afford to buy a lens I don't end up using. But it is cheaper than the Pany 25 and seems to be an excellent lens.

    Finances dictate waiting a bit before pulling the trigger unless I find a good deal on a used one, but what do you folks think? Should I go with the analysis and get the 45 or go with my gut and get the 25?
  2. zcd

    zcd Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2013
    Alberta, Canada
    Have you considered the P20? That should be your first choice if you look at where you take most of your shots with the kit (40mm equivalent)
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    i would go with your gut and get the 25mm if you're only going to have just one (good) lens. As much as I prefer the look of longer focal lengths, it is often much harder to back up in order to get more in the frame as opposed to moving in closer to get a tighter crop. You might start getting closer to your subject while using the prime than you did with the zoom, but you'll still be able to get in all your shots. Be aware though that getting in too close also adds to perspective distortion. If you're doing a lot of headshots or something, then you should stick with a longer focal length like 45mm or 75mm.

    Also, there are also many affordable yet high quality legacy options for 50mm which you could add for cheap to fill that hole.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    I agree with Ned. They are both lovely lenses, but the 25 will probably get more use. They put those 50's on the old film SLR's for a reason.
  5. kponds

    kponds Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 18, 2013
    I would start with the 25mm unless you wanted a specific portrait lens.
  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Go with the 25 if you have a fairly large grouping around that focal length. The reason you likely have a lot at 42 is because you wanted at least that much reach, and simply racked the zoom out as far as it would go. The fact you actually stop at around 25 quite a lot is telling, IMO.
  7. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I second the suggestion to get the 20mm. It may be a bit slow to focus but I found that complaint to be overblown unless you are shooting sports. It's small, incredibly sharp and wide enough to use comfortably indoors. Plus, it's an incredible bargain these days. I started with it and later moved to the 25. Both the 25 and the 45 are awesome lenses, but if you didn't use primes much before they become an expensive experiment. The 20 is cheaper and still an excellent choice. :cool: 
  8. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    25mm is the obvious choice for me

    The 45 is just not a practical lens to leave on the camera full time. If you had the 20 or 25, you could leave that on the camera nearly full time and get most of what you need. Thats my experience, anyway... YMMV.

    Here is my estimate of lens usage in my travels and experiences.

    P14 15%
    P20 or 25 65%
    P45 5%
    40-150 10%
    14-42 3% (maybe 0.001% lately)
    75/1.4 adapt 1%
    200/2.8 adapt 2%

    For me, the P45 is somewhat of a specialtly lens that only makes sense in specific locations or environments. If I ran a portrait studio, I might feel differently. The 20 and now the 20 or 25 have been and remain my primary go to lens which live on my camera.
  9. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    If you get the 25mm you will likely use it a lot, but having used both it and the 20mm I can say that they are both excellent lenses. Since finances are tight, consider the 20mm for now (and a legacy 50mm manual focus lens with adapter) and see how you like it after a few months. If you buy a used 20mm will be able to resell it for hardly any loss if you want to switch to the 25mm.
  10. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    Another vote for the 25, it is a very useful all round focal length. To be honest, in printing primes show only a little advantage over modern zooms. For me there two reasons to go prime; very low light, and the way primes change your way of shooting.
    That last bit is most important for me. With primes I tend to make a more concious decision about the perspective and point of view I choose.
  11. Fred49

    Fred49 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2010


    i have been using the 20 a long time ( it was my second m4/3 lens after the mk1 kit ) and i was very happy with it
    but once i started using lens with good AF like the 12/25/45 etc.. i sold the 20
  12. dragons4Mama

    dragons4Mama Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2012
    MetroWest MA
    Get the 45 -- $50 off until May 11 (kicking myself for buying between sales)

    If most of your photos are @ 42mm, that shows you where your eye "sees".

    20mm Panasonic was too slow & too loud for me on my OM-D E-M5 (though slightly less loud after updating camera's firmware)

    Since the Panasonic 20mm's AF bugged me so much w/ its loud chittering while trying to focus, even though I loved my Canon 50mm f/1.4 and the Panaleica 25mm seems like a great lens, the reports I've read of that lens "rattlesnaking" on Olympus bodies scares me off. Too much $$ to put up w/ that behavior in a lens

    What about the Sigma 19mm f/2.8? Really good lens at a nice price, especially if you can find one of the older models w/ the ribbed barrel (Search for Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN)
  13. Wizard Steve

    Wizard Steve Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2013
    Provence, France
    David Ricketts
    It might also be an indication that the OP really needs a longer focal length like the 60 or the 75 because, more often than not, he's maxing out his 14-42.

    Happy to "help" :2thumbs:
  14. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    How about the 35-100/2.8 :) 

    I find when I use zooms, I usually shoot at either extreme and rarely in the middle. Also, IMO, the primes change how you see a pic. With the kit zooms, you need to zoom out to get some subject isolation. The O17/1.8 or P25 (or even P20) can get some nice separation without being long lenses. Subject isolation with wide(r) angle is actually a lot of fun!

    The 45 is nice, and if you are doing a lot of portraits, then go for it. But IMO the P25 (or P20) are more versatile, and the PL25 is lovely in so many other ways (AF speed, the right amount of vignette, good bokeh, etc.)
  15. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I want to thank everyone for their responses. It is great that people are so willing to take the time to share their views. I eventually may end up with a whole bag full of primes, but I can't buy them all at once and I have to start somewhere.

    Now that someone reminds me of the "rattle snaking" issues of the PL25, that does concern me a bit. I'm not keen on dropping $500 on a lens that makes that kind of noise. I wish there was a store locally that had the various lenses in stock for me to try out before I buy, but that is not an option.

    Still thinking, but your opinions are helpful.
  16. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I have the E-PM1 and a new PL25. When I first put it on I noticed some of the little rattle in my room as I swing the camera from dark to light areas. It was not a concern to me because I had read about it earlier (thanks guys). I was actually happy because it was less frequent and quieter than I thought it would be.

    I recently spent a week with the camera on a little mini vacation / business trip to Holland and I had the PL25 on the E-PM1 the majority of the time. I did not notice the chattering once during the whole trip (I don't have the best ears I will admit). I was playing in a poorly lit room last night and heard it again for the first time in a few weeks. It is definitely not much of an issue for me.

    The rattle seems irrelevant to me and is definitely not something that would keep me from recommending the lens. Many of the lenses have some drawback or blemish. If I had to pick a blemish from "missing focus in low light" , "lack of sharpness and speed", or the "occasional chatter", I would take the chatter. Just wanted to put my 2 cents in on that subject.
  17. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    I have both, I like both. I probably use the 25 more, and so if I had to choose to keep one the 25 is in the lead. But you're not going to go far wrong either way I think. I had owned other lenses and heard chatter a bit, and it's never worried me much. It only really chatters when you swing it between a bright area and dark are(or vice versa,) so unless those are the conditions you always are in, you might only notice it occasionally if it's real quiet.
  18. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    not only the Sigma 19 but also the 30 is one to check out. I have it and absolutely love it and they are releasing the new 60 this month for $239 and if its anything like the 30 it'll be a great lens for cheap price.
  19. Jay86

    Jay86 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2012
    I would get the PL 25mm. Far more versatile focal length if it might be your only prime or lens for a while. The 25mm (or 50mm on 35mm format) is legendary for a reason over the years. You can get nice creamy bokeh portraits from it if you like or take a step back and nice 3/4 or even full body shots (using portraits as an example). Its also a very naturally close perspective to how the human eye see's things. IMO if its just the one lens for now get the 25mm. Certainly grab the 45mm when finances allow for it as well.

    For whats its worth Im new to M43 (seriously GH3 just arrived today) and have decided on a set of three primes for my lens kit (14mm f/2.5, 25mm f/1.4 & 45mm f/1.8) and since I cannot get all three right away Im getting the PL 25mm first as my stand alone lens.

    Just my two cents. Good luck deciding :)  (I dont think you can really go wrong either way though as there both quality lenses)
  20. Printfolio

    Printfolio Mu-43 Regular

    May 6, 2012
    Kortrijk, Belgium
    Excellent choice, it's also mine.I also have the 12 mm. No sign of rattling by the PL25 on my OM-D.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.